Post Bulletin Feature – Two-day Rochester symposium spotlights self-care, lifestyle medicine

The Community of Wellness Symposium and Gala on April 21 and 22 will bring in speakers from across the state and country to talk about different aspects of lifestyle medicine.

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ROCHESTER — Next weekend, the Lotus Health Foundation will host its fifth annual Community of Wellness Symposium and Gala, a two-day event centered around lifestyle medicine.

This year’s theme for the event, which is open to the public, is self-care, said Mei Liu, founder and president of the Lotus Health Foundation.

“We want to introduce the concept of comprehensive self-care based on the lifestyle medicine approach, as in nutrition, movement, stress management, social connection, passion, sleep,” Liu said.

Liu and her husband, Rochester Clinic podiatrist Dr. Jengyu Lai, have been promoting lifestyle medicine in Rochester since 2010, and the symposium is an extension of their work. Lifestyle medicine, Lai said, focuses on factors like diet, movement, sleep and other lifestyle conditions to improve patients’ health and treat or prevent chronic medical conditions.

“We have a lot of health care costs in medical care, in medication, but then most importantly is productivity,” Lai said. “About 80% of chronic conditions are lifestyle-related, so in order to reduce health care (costs), we really need to look at our lifestyle.”

Starting at 4 p.m. Friday, April 21 at St. Mary’s University, Rochester, Liu and Mayor Kim Norton will welcome symposium attendees and kick off the afternoon Walk With A Doc, where people can walk around the campus’s wetlands and chat with Lai. A reception with food, the symposium’s guest speakers and sponsors will follow.

“We’ll have a brief introduction about who they are and what they do,” Liu said of the guest speakers. “And so that will help the rest of the attendees and the organizations, the vendors to continue to connect until the next day, the whole-day symposium.”

The schedule for Saturday, April 22 includes several guest speakers, such as Dr. Dawn Mussallem, a diagnostic breast specialist at Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus who survived stage 4 cancer and received a heart transplant in 2021.

“Her focus is not to tell us about breast cancer; her focus is to share her personal journey and inspire people and ignite their passion, what really drives them to be healthy, to be well,” Liu said. “When we (are) all able to look at that for our ourselves, we define our purpose of our everyday living, then we determine, ‘Yes I want to be well,’ and how we do that.”

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